Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sound Barrier

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God."

-- Mark 10: 27

It was the final frontier of fixed wing aviation: the sound barrier.

Only a few decades since the Wright brothers had made their historic heavier-than-air flights from the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, aviation had evolved from flimsy fabric and wood biplanes into sleek – and deadly – jet-propelled fighters. The fastest aircraft of World War II would eventually reach speeds exceeding 600 miles per hour. But then the laws of aerodynamics stepped in. There was some invisible force that prevented airplanes from exceeding 761 miles per hour – the speed called Mach 1 (the speed of sound through air). This force could tear the wings off aircraft, which led some to believe it to be an unbreakable natural law.

Chuck Yeager saw it differently. On October 14, 1947, the veteran test pilot and World War II ace broke the sound barrier in a tiny rocket-propelled aircraft about five seconds after its launch from the belly of a B-29 bomber. Then, only five years later, he set another fixed wing speed record by reaching 1,650 miles per hour – more than twice the speed of sound. A once seemingly insurmountable barrier was breached through technology, skill and a good measure of bravery.

As Christ-followers, we face our own barriers as we try to live out each day the way God wants us to. But instead of exceeding Mach 1, we often crash and burn by following our natural tendencies to do what’s wrong (“sin”). Rather than following Jesus’ example of loving our neighbors, helping the disadvantaged and honoring God, we’re often tempted to go back to the old “Me First” lifestyle. It’s a real struggle: the selfish stuff we know we shouldn’t do versus the ultimately world-changing things we can and should do. And as with any struggle, we eventually get tired. That’s when we fail to cross that invisible barrier.

That’s also when we need energy to get us over the top. Something like a shot of espresso or a can or two of Red Bull. But something much more powerful, lasting and dependable.

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote that he considered this exhausting struggle to be literal internal warfare: Good against Evil. Through his own energy and efforts, he knew he would certainly lose the battle. But Paul had a dynamic weapon that assured his ultimate victory. And it’s something that’s available to us right now.

He’s called the Holy Spirit: the Force that all Christ-followers receive when they ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is literally God’s power residing in every Believer. It’s what enables us to do or say the things we never could before, overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and generally do the impossible. In fact, the Bible says it’s the same power that raised Jesus from the dead after His crucifixion.

If you’re a Christ-follower, ask the Holy Spirit to take you to the next level. Be alert to His teachings and leadings. And understand that they can come from just about anywhere. It might be that Bible passage that reveals itself to you with new meaning. Or maybe it’s a Spiritual truth emerging from a discussion in your Gel Group. The Holy Spirit can also speak through a conversation you have with a friend or stranger, or even out of an odd circumstance in the workplace. You just never know.

But wherever and whenever He appears, the key is to keep your eyes, ears and heart open. Then trust God to help you cross the barrier.

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